Dresden to Prague by train - the experience

Broken down train - somewhere in eastern Eurpoe
Broken down train - somewhere in eastern Eurpoe

We laid awake this morning at about 4.50 am listening to the pouring rain, and claps of thunder didn't put a positive spin on the day to come. After drifting back to sleep, we eventually go up and began to get ready for the day at about 6am - we had an early train to catch to Prague, at least the rain had stopped. We got ourselves to the train station with plenty of time to spare for our 9am departure. As is our general experience with German public transport, the train pulled in exactly on time. We boarded and headed for our seats - we were in a 6 seater booth with only two other passengers.

The journey started - we were off to Prague, and the Czech republic, and whats more, the weather was great.

Leaving the station at 9.10am, the arrival time was just over 2 hours away. Traveling through some very beautiful country side made the journey very pleasurable - we basically followed the river from Dresden all the way.

About an hour into the journey we lost our cabin mates, and had the whole compartment to ourselves - this was great, we could stretch out and relax in the air conditioned comfort for the remainder of the trip.

As we drew closer to our destination we began to make some preparations - packing up our things so we could make a clean exit.

With only 30min until we reached Prague, we were now well over the Czech boarder and into Eastern Europe - it as at this point that the train slowed and pulled into a small station.

This station was, as we soon put together, an 'un-scheduled' stop. Apparently there was a major problem with the locomotive pulling our train and it had to be 'swapped out' for a new one before we could continue - or at least this is what we surmised after a conversation with the guard who could only speak Czech and German.

The locomotive was disconnected from the train - at which point so was our power - meaning no more air conditioning, or flushing toilets!

There is nothing quite like the feeling of being stranded on a broken train in Eastern Europe! Seeing our locomotive being towed away, not knowing when, or where the replacement would be coming from.

At this point there was a mass exidos from the train by 'those in the know', the locals, and anyone else who could successfully communicate with the guard.

The guard asked us our destination, to which we replied 'Prague'. 'You stay' came the reply - it appears he know some English.

So we stayed... While everyone around us was getting off. It was an awkward feeling - do we get off an risk not catching another train, or do we stay and wait it out. We decided to take the guards advice and stay - after all, he should know whats best... shouldn't he?

Train to Prauge
Train to Prauge

Meanwhile, with the lack of air conditioning, the temperature i the train started to raise to the point where it was no longer comfortable - and actually bloody hot. The guards had opened all the windows in the train that they could, but without movement it didn't provide much relief.

At this point the tracks on either side of the train were strewn with passengers still making their way off the train - amongst the regularly scheduled trains that continued to fly past (another reason we though it best to remain on the train).

We quickly found that sitting in the open doorway of the train was the coolest - the cabins were becoming downright hot.

We sat on, in and around the train for the next 3.5 hours before excitement quickly spread through those that remained - a new locomotive was being connected to the train - it wouldn't be long now!

With the news of this, many of those who left the train hoping to get another train quickly grabbed their bags, ventured back across the tracks and found their seats again on the train.

It was another 20 minutes before the train lurched to life - we were off again! Although it appeared that our carriage was still without power, and thus no air conditioning - the corridors again became a refuge, although at least the air was flowing now.

A short 30 minute ride had us in Prague, our final destination. We had been traveling for about 5 hours now - not bad for a journey that is meant to take just 2 hours.

We made it, and in one peice - and with a good story to tell. So tonight we are sitting in our hostel (actually an old two bedroom apartment) having dinner, and a few drinks relaxing - planning what we will do tommorrow.